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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-09-03

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Inner Cabinet focuses on new academic year
  • [02] KKE leader visits Rhodes
  • [03] Artifacts returned to Greece
  • [04] GDP up 3.5% in Q2 yr/yr

  • [01] Inner Cabinet focuses on new academic year

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the Inner Cabinet, which focused on education issues, during which the top ministers werebriefed by Education Minister Evripides Stylianidis on preparations made for the new academic year that begins late next week and on progress in the implementation of the national strategy in education.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Stylianidis said he presented the first results of the "smart schools" policy, noting that for the first time the textbooks were already in the schools awaiting the pupils, and the operational and anticipated gaps have already been fully covered, while the system was also ready to fill in any last-minute vacancies in teaching staff.

    Stylianidis further said that the introductory training of the teaching staff was being completed this year for the first time before the schools opened, while support tutoring at school would also commence from the beginning of the academic year this year for the first time.

    The minister pointed out that a program for the construction of 1,233 schools was currently underway throughout Greece, which would enable a modernization of the structures and amelioration of the problems.

    Regarding the mandatory attendance of five-years at kindergartens, which is being introduced this academic year, and following press charges of a shortage in public kindergartens, Styliandis said that not a single pre-schooler would be left out of the educational system, and warned that the ministry will not ease up on its strict requirements in the approval of private kindergartens with respect to safety and quality of education provided. The government recently mandated that pre-schools could not host five-year-olds unless they had a separate permit and separate facility to house a kindergarten.

    Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis said after the meeting that the Inner Cabinet also examined matters related to preparation for the new academic year, and the education ministry's planning, which he said indicated that the government was operating efficiently and effectively in this sector, as it was in all sectors.

    [02] KKE leader visits Rhodes

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said working people must realise that, although they were like "David", they nevertheless had the strength to face the "Goliath", which was the government's and EU's policy, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday during a visit to the island of Rhodes.

    She said workers, farmers and small-scale professionals must rid themselves of their fear and fight those policies that harm their interests, and criticised the New Democracy and preceding PASOK governments, calling on the people to disengage themselves from the two mainstream parties.

    She further criticised the Coalition of the Left (SYN) party and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party as exercising "pseudo-opposition" to the government.

    Earlier, she met with Rhodes mayor Hatzis Hatziefthimiou, who asked for her intercession in obliging the Rhodes Casino to materials its commitments of carrying out investments in the city of Rhodes, the island's capital.

    Papariga had a series of meetings with local authorities, while in the afternoon she will visit the Laermon village in Lindos municipality, which was one of the hardest-hit areas in the recent fire.

    The KKE leader will further address a political rally in downtown Rhodes on Wednesday night.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of KKE leader Aleka Papariga.

    [03] Artifacts returned to Greece

    <!--Two antiquties returned to Greece by US philanthropist and collector Shelby White from her private collection were presented to the public on Wednesday by Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis during an event at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, where the artifacts will be temporarily on display.

    The first artifact is a fragment of a funerary stele depicting a warrior and a younger man, dating to 410-400 BC, which has been identified as the upper part of a lower section of a stele that was excavated by the archaeological service in the 1960s near the coastal town of Porto Rafti in eastern Attica prefecture and currently on display at the nearby Vravrona Museum,

    The second artifact is a bronze calyx krater with a silver inlay dating to 340-320 BC, which archaeologists believe was found during illegal digging in a Macedonian royal tomb in Pieria prefecture, west of Thessaloniki.

    The culture ministery and White struck a deal in July for the return of the two artifaces, which both sides described as "important" and "rare", which were looted by antiquities smugglers and illegally exported from Greece.

    The two sides further said at the time that White and her late husband Leon Levy acquired the artifacts "in good faith".

    Liapis stressed during the event that "the repatriation of antiquities is of great importance to the Greek people, but also the Greek archaeologists who are making heroic efforts for their protection and restoration".

    He said the newly established directorate for identifying and protecting cultural treasures was making a systematic effort to locate and repatriate Greek antiquities.

    The two repatriated artifacts will be temporarily on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, and will subsequently returned to their places of origin next year.Caption: A bronze calyx krater with a silver inlay dating to 340-320 BC, which archaeologists believe was found during illegal digging in a Macedonian royal tomb in Pieria prefecture, west of Thessaloniki, as presented on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008. ANA-MPA / PANTELIS SAITAS.

    -->

    [04] GDP up 3.5% in Q2 yr/yr

    Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.5 percent in the second quarter of 2008 against the corresponding quarter in 2007, according to provisional data released on Wednesday by the National Statistical Service (NSS), on the main macroeconomic aggregates of the second quarter.

    The rise in Greece's GDP was attributed to a 1.8-percent increase in the final demand of the economy, NSS said.

    Investments posted a 2.7-percent decrease in the second quarter of the year against the same quarter in 2007, and the decrease caused a 0.5 percentage point slowdown in the rate of increase of the final demand of the economy.

    In addition, exports rose by 4.6 percent in the second quarter of the year against the corresponding quarter of 2007, contributing by 0.7 percentage point to the increase in the final demand of the economy, while imports declined by 3.9 percent in the second quarter against the same quarter in 2007.

    Further, final consumption expenditures rose by 2.5 percent in the second quarter of 2008 against the same quarter in 2007, with the rate of final consumption contributing by 1.6 percentage points to the increase in the final demand of the economy.

    Caption: A file photo of the main container port at the port of Piraeus. ANA-MPA


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